Some Sheffield Wednesday fans let down one of their own and themselves during defeat to Norwich City

Cameron Dawson after his penalty save against Norwich City .....Pic Steve Ellis
Cameron Dawson after his penalty save against Norwich City .....Pic Steve Ellis

No doubt it was borne from frustration but, as unpopular an opinion this may be, a great number of Sheffield Wednesday fans let themselves down on Saturday.

More importantly, they let down one of their own. A young footballer, living out his dream, yet stuck in the middle of a row that’s not of his making.

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood hasn't played since December last year

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood hasn't played since December last year

When Wednesday went 2-0 down to Norwich City a vociferous number chanted the name of Sam Hutchinson, currently being left kicking his heels on the sidelines and seemingly out of the picture as far as Jos Luhukay is concerned.

That chant didn’t jar too much. Hutchinson is a fiery, determined, passionate character, literally to a fault, and the Canaries had just scored a second in the space of a few minutes with inexplicable ease. No one player was being targeted in this sense.

The next chant, though, was frankly disgraceful.

‘One Keiren Westwood’ rang out around Hillsborough, with reference to the former first choice goalkeeper and another who is not in the manager’s plans.

Owls Manager Jos Luhukay ......Pic Steve Ellis

Owls Manager Jos Luhukay ......Pic Steve Ellis

Was Cameron Dawson, the current custodian, at fault for any of the goals at that point? Certainly not. Indeed in the first half he had saved an albeit terrible penalty from Mario Vrancic.

Yet here, a large number of home supporters were calling for another goalkeeper who, if we are all honest, no one knows whether he is still any good. 

There’s a fair chance he hasn’t lost much of his quality – only a handful of people can answer that query – but Westwood hasn’t played for nearly a year. In the few months before his injury, the Republic of Ireland international hadn’t been performing to the high standards he set himself in previous seasons, though perhaps carrying the injury would explain that.

Yet here Dawson had to listen to, quite possibly, thousands of his team’s own fans throwing him under the bus. It’s little wonder he eventually did make a mistake, with a poor kick out which led to the fourth goal.

However, the 23-year-old made a number of saves before and after that moment, which prevented collective Wednesday faces from reddening even more.

The fact is, Luhukay has decided that he wants Dawson to be his number one. Yes, it would help a little more if he was less vague on exactly the reasons why he made that call and the Owls manager’s revelation that Westwood is actually injured and hasn’t trained for three weeks did nothing to blow away any lingering mystery, given it had not been mentioned before Saturday.

None of this is Dawson’s fault, yet he’s become a scapegoat in a poor season so far for Wednesday when, in reality, during what has been his longest run in the team, he has performed quite well.

There’s plenty of room for improvement, of course, but Dawson has the potential and the ability to be Sheffield Wednesday’s goalkeeper for a very long time. To do that and to get better, he needs to be getting games at this level, not playing second fiddle to a player in his mid-thirties whose contract is running out and will most likely be off in the summer.

What he doesn’t need is to hear fans calling for his head as a means of protest against the manager. 

There are a lot of young players in this Wednesday team. What they must have is support. What Dawson got on Saturday was as far removed from that as you’re likely to find.